Near Santa Fe
We will be in Santa Fe this November. I've searched Chowhound for restaurants in Santa Fe and found a number that would be good choices for us: The Shed, Old House.
But, I'm not finding much more that are not quite expensive. We love food and eating out and have wide-ranging tastes, and wonder if there aren't some interesting places near Santa Fe that we should try that will not break the bank.
I'd actually argue that Santa Fe's high-end dining is pretty overrated, and it's the mid-range stuff where the city really shines.
Do a board search on any of these, you'll find a lot more info, and if you have specific questions or cravings, just say so and we can probably point you in the right direction:
Santa Fe Bite (relocated downtown incarnation of Bobcat Bite, home of one of the best burgers in the universe)
Plaza Cafe Southside (New Mex and American, outstanding)
Jalapenos (Queretaran regional Mexican)
Ranch House (midscale BBQ and American)
Tune-up Cafe (Salvadoran and New Mex)
Jambo Cafe (Carribean and African)
2nd Street Brewery (excellent pub fare)
Harry's Roadhouse (American, New Mex, and more)
Vinaigrette (a "salad bistro" with lots of homegrown greens and veggies)
Iconik Coffee (hipster 3rd wave coffeehouse with a very short menu of excellent kitchen fare)
Counter Culture (another coffeehouse with remarkably tasty food, including New Mex, American, and East Asian stuff)
Pizza Centro (top-notch NY-style pizza, best topped with green chile, NM's signature ingredient)
La Boca - outstanding. I've spent some time in Spain and the tapas here trump a substantial portion of what I remember from there, with a particularly fun selection of sherries by the glass. Very cramped and always crowded, so be sure to make reservations. Also NB it's fairly expensive, although I'd argue it's well worth it given the high quality ingredients and craftsmanship.
The Shed - the quality is variable, especially when they're really busy, but when it's good it may well be the best New Mexican food in the city. Their margaritas are phenomenal, both potent and delicious.
Old House - I'm irrationally biased against hotel restaurants, but I've never been particularly wowed.
You might also check out Shohko Cafe (prices comparable to La Boca); I think their sushi is on par with most of what I've had on the coasts, and they have an excellent sake list, as well as a few fun NM-inspired dishes like shrimp-stuffed green chile tempura. But the main draw is the straight-ahead real deal sushi.
Thanks, finiero. We were in Spain (and Portugal) last year. I posted a long description of our favorite restaurants on that Board. We LOVED Portugal; less so Spain. One of the challenges was that we could never get tapas! We were only in Cordoba -- maybe that was it. So the tapas at La Boca really appeals to us.
And I will look at Shohko Cafe -- we eat sushi and this sounds like a nice contrast to other foods.
+1 on all of finlero's suggestion. A really great list. I'd only add La Choza, and would probably pick that over The Shed (same owners).
If you like very dark chocolate, I think Kakawa is also worth a visit. The chocolate is expensive (though not compared to similar places in other cities) and the staff can be flakey, but the owner is committed to old-school chocolate making, never adding dairy or alkali, and you can really taste the pure cacao in their products. He also makes very interesting chocolate elixirs (sort of like tiny intense cups of cocoa), many of which are based on old Mesoamerican recipes. They give out free samples of those on request, so be sure to ask.
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finlero has some wonderful suggestions already.
I would add only a few:
Atrisco Cafe - for lamb with red chile
Casa Chimayo - awesome red chile posole
Alicia's tortilleria - corn tortillas to eat like snack food. Ok, they also have tamales and to-go food items.... :-)
Hope you have a wonderful trip!